Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the difference between Wrought Iron and Steel?
- What is the difference between Cast Iron and Wrought Iron or other metals?
- What is the difference between Brass and Bronze?
- How do I get a Heritage Industries Inc. proposal?/Offer a proposal for my project?
- Does Heritage Industries offer "ball-park" pricing?
- Does Heritage Industries offer "Value Engineering" or can Heritage Industries offer improvements to specifications, materials, finishes, or fabrication processes which would improve the price of the work?
- What is Heritage Industries normal lead time?
- How does Heritage Industries measure for a curved stair railing?
- What materials does Heritage Industries work in?
- What if I do not have a design in mind?
- What finishes does Heritage Industries offer?
- How can I keep my project within budget?
- Why might Heritage Industries bid be higher than some of the other bids we received?
- Does Heritage Industries ever work with Laser Cutting, Water Jet Cutting, or CNC Milling of metals?
- What are the CAD capabilities of Heritage Industries?
- Can Heritage Industries send me samples or mock-ups for review or approval?
- How does Heritage Industries warrant its work?
- Does Heritage Industries ever work for or with other businesses or ornamental metal shops?
- I have an existing exterior iron railing which is rusting, what is the best way to maintain it?
- Does Heritage Industries install electronic gate operating systems for my gates?
- Does Heritage Industries ever design gated entries?
- Why does custom ornamental metalwork cost so much?
- What affiliations does Heritage Industries maintain?
Q: What is the difference between Wrought Iron and Steel?
A: The terms iron and steel are often used interchangeably today. So, unless it is "cast" iron you are referring to, iron and steel mean the same thing to the contemporary metal fabricator. "Wrought Iron" usually refers to the process of iron or steel being "wrought" by hand or machine and implies a degree of decoration is involved. (e.g. "I would prefer a wrought iron fence" and " I would prefer a decorative steel fence" means the same thing) However, "wrought iron" is also a very specific type of iron which was the predominant metal used for ornamental and structural work prior to 1920s. When modern smelting processes and higher grades of "steel" became available and "wrought iron" was discontinued in favor of the new alloys. Since "real" wrought iron is no longer made except in specialty mills, all ornamental metal shops use A36 Carbon Steel in their fabrication and forging operations where ironwork is required. See the NOMMA website here for an excellent article by Todd Daniel which details the technical differences.
Q:What is the difference between Cast Iron and Wrought Iron or other metals?
A: Cast iron is formed by pouring molten iron into a mold which was formed by pressing a carved pattern into casting sand. Wrought iron is also called forged iron. It is the process of taking a bar of preformed metal then heating it and working the hot metal by hand under the hammer and over an anvil and with various tools. Heritage Industries utilizes both methods in many alloys of metals to achieve the final finished product
Q: What is the difference between Brass and Bronze?
A: Brass and bronze are all members of the copper alloy family. There is no formal differentiation between brass and bronze, only a perception that the more yellow a copper alloy appears, it is more likely referred to as brasses, and the more reddish it appears to be it is called bronze. While there are several hundred copper alloys used in industry, we generally use the following alloys in our work: Silicon Bronze, aluminium Bronze, Muntz metal, Naval Brass, and Architectural Bronze. Of these alloys, bronze handrail or cap rail is made of architectural bronze. See the Copper Development Association website here
for more details on copper alloys, uses and specifications.
Q: How do I get a Heritage Industries Inc. proposal?/Offer a proposal for my project?
A: For the most timely, accurate, and cost effective bid, please provide the following information to us via mail or email:
- Your architect’s or landscape architect’s plans and specifications
- Any site measurements and photos if applicable
- Job site location
- Time frame for completion
- Any other sketches, designs, photos, or magazine clippings which may help us understand what you want.
As with any form of custom work, the more information you can give our estimator, the more accurate and timely our response and your proposal will be. If you come to our shop in Blawnox, we will gladly set an appointment and consult with you free of charge about your work. We have a showroom full of samples and finishes to offer better insight into what your particular project may need.
Q: Does Heritage Industries offer "ball-park" pricing?
A: No. Ball park prices are not offered because they are almost always inaccurate and often do not take important factors into account which would be caught during the normal estimating process.
Q: Does Heritage Industries offer "Value Engineering" or can Heritage Industries offer improvements to specifications, materials, finishes, or fabrication processes which would improve the price of the work?
A: Yes. The more information we receive during the estimating phase, the more accurate we can be with our proposal. If you indicate up front that your project is extremely budget driven, we will offer VE ideas from the onset in order to make it as affordable as possible.
Q: What is Heritage Industries normal lead time?
A: This depends on the size and complexity of the project and the backlog of work already underway. However, we can turn many projects around in 12-16 weeks.
Q: How does Heritage Industries measure for a curved stair railing?
A: We must physically template your curving stair which generally involves a crew from our shop traveling to the job site and working on site making a steel or aluminium "template"
of your stair.
Q: What materials does Heritage Industries work in?
A: We can fabricate and forge stainless steel, steel, brass, bronze, copper, aluminium, and other alloys.
Q: What if I do not have a design in mind?
A: At your initial appointment, which may take place on site or at our showroom, we will discuss your project goals, personal style, the style of your home and budget. We will show you design book, samples and previously completed jobs. In most cases the client makes their decision before the end of the meeting. If you are interested in further design we can offer design services on an hourly rate including the preparation of shop drawings and specifications for bidding.
Q: What finishes does Heritage Industries offer?
A: We offer many finishes for many applications and alloys. For example, we offer traditional blacksmith finishes of wax and linseed oil on forged iron, patina finishes for ferrous and non-ferrous metals, as well as complex catalyzed paint and primer systems. However, most of our carbon steel projects are powder coated or galvanized and powder coated. Be aware that specialty finishes can sometimes cost as much as the fabrication of a product. If you do not have a finish specification for your work, we can offer one to suit the requirements of the installation.
Q: How can I keep my project within budget?
A: If you choose to share your budget with us, we will help design and/or value engineer your existing design to stay within your budget. If we provide you with a fixed price proposal for your work, we will hold that price unless the scope of work changes.
Q: Why might Heritage Industries bid be higher than some of the other bids we received?
A: Quality, Integrity, Professionalism, Attention to Detail, and Experience.
These are a few of the reasons we are rarely the low bidder. But equally as important, unless the customer tells us otherwise, we will always assume a very high level of finish quality on the work and offer a "turnkey" price that does not leave the customer with surprises at the end of the job. Conversely, when specifications and details are clear, our bids are very often on par with others. This is the reason you need to provide as much information as possible to each bidder, so you receive a fair and accurate "apples to apples" result.
Q: Does Heritage Industries ever work with Laser Cutting, Water Jet Cutting, or CNC Milling of metals?
A: Yes. Because of our CAD capabilities we can work with any applicable CNC machining processes to economize and/or accelerate production schedules.
Q: What are the CAD capabilities of Heritage Industries?
A: Heritage Industries uses AutoCAD software for larger scale projects. These files can be plotted or sent electronically for revisions, comments, and field coordination. In addition, we use digital photographs extensively to aid in progress billing, design, and project coordination.
Q: Can Heritage Industries send me samples or mock-ups for review or approval?
A: Yes, for a charge. We often create a full size sample for review and approval prior to beginning work.
Q: How does Heritage Industries warrant its work?
A: Heritage Industries stands firmly behind all of its work. We hold a one year standard workman’s warranty on any of our products, but we are not satisfied until our customers are delighted with both our service and our products. In this way we are able to work for the same clients year after year.
Q: Does Heritage Industries ever work for or with other businesses or ornamental metal shops?
A: Yes. We have formed strategic business alliances with many architects, builders, designers, stair manufacturers and other metal fabrication shops. We work with each other by continually offering referrals and production support.
Q: I have an existing exterior iron railing which is rusting, what is the best way to maintain it?
A: If the railing is in complete disrepair it may be more cost effective to have it replaced. If the railing is in sound shape then remove the rust with a wire brush, use a rust-inhibitive primer or a zinc rich primer and a good quality rust-inhibitive top coat, all should be available at your local hardware store. Be sure to use a good amount of paint as well following the manufacturer’s recommendations, a thin coat of paint will not weather as well as a heavier coating.
Q: Does Heritage Industries install electronic gate operating systems for my gates?
A: Yes we do. Heritage Industries works in alliance with local gate system installers. This ensures good service after the sale. We can offer this coordination service as well if you desire a turnkey solution.
Q: Does Heritage Industries ever design gated entries?
A: While we provide designs as they relate to the gate, and electronic entry system and fencing, wiring requirements, or other site furnishings we may be fabricating, we defer overall design and planning of the entry to a qualified landscape architect. Be aware that set back, city and state building codes, hydrant access, emergency vehicle access and many other considerations will come into play with a gated entry and the best person to manage this is a qualified design professional.
Q: Why does custom ornamental metalwork cost so much?
A: With the exception of specialty metals such as stainless or bronze, the single greatest cost of our goods sold is labor. The more labor there is involved in the work, the more expensive the work will be. It is possible for the labor costs to equal up to 80% of a finished design. Additionally, we rarely enjoy the benefits of production processes because we are always making something different every day. This also shows true for the scale of a particular job and is often referred to as economy of scale. If General Motors or Ford had to make your car one at a time, to your specifications for size, design, color, metal, etc. you can be assured it would cost a lot more!
Q: What affiliations does Heritage Industries maintain?
A: Heritage industries is a proud member of NOMMA (www.nomma.org)
Locally, we are members of the Pittsburgh Builders Exchange and the Building Trades Association.